Consolidated Cigarettes Turn Cards Set (N354)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title N354 Consolidated Cigarettes Turn Cards
Year 1894 (?)
Size Varies
Images Color
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set

Consolidated Cigarettes Turn Cards (N354) Overview

N354 Consolidated Cigarettes Turn Card Baseball CombinedThis rare set was produced by Consolidated Cigarettes of New York City, presumably in the late 1800s. The cards are exceedingly rare.

These are cataloged as N354 (only 354 in the original American Card Catalog by Jefferson Burdick) and are called Turn Cards because that’s what collectors were supposed to do with them. Each side of a particular card featured a drawn image, which was part of a complete picture. But unlike a puzzle card, both parts of the picture were one one card – one on the front and one on the back. The two images, when flipped or turned over quickly, would present sort of a simultaneous picture.

A baseball card in the set is shown here as a demonstration. One side portrays a batter swinging and missing at a baseball. The other shows the ball on its way to the catcher. A title for each card was also printed and this one is called, ‘Three Strikes,’ with the batter striking out.

The cards come in two different sizes. A smaller card measuring approximately 1 3/4″ x 2 7/8″ closer resembles many of the tobacco issues of the period while slightly larger 2″ x 3″ cards are also known. Cards also had a small hole or two punched in them. The exact date is unknown but this auction listing states they are from 1894.

There are supposed to be 25 cards in the set but because they are so difficult to find a complete checklist is unknown. The cards are not numbered and do not state how many are found in a set. So Burdick must have seen them all at some point or found some other aid to confirm that information, such as an advertising poster or other mention of the set.

The set contains many mysteries and, while Burdick cataloged it, there’s little we know about the cards. In addition to identifying the sizes and the total number found in a set, his only other insight/description was ‘part of picture on each side.’ We do know the sport contained non-sports subjects as well but do not know if other sports issues are found in it.

Consolidated Cigarettes Turn Cards (N354) Checklist

A total of 25 cards have been identified as being in this set but the cards are scarce and only a few are known to the collecting community. The ones I’ve personally seen are listed below.

  1. An Argument
  2. Chase
  3. Three Strikes (Baseball)